Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

W.Va.’s abysmal ATV safety record

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Statistics issued recently by the Consumer Product Safety Commission are enough to send a chill down any West Virginian’s spine.

If you live in the Mountain State, you’re at least 2.5 more times likely to die in an ATV accident than people who live in other states.

Between 1982 and 2006, West Virginia trailed only Pennsylvania and California in the number of ATV deaths. But because Ol’ Wild and Wonderful is home to so many fewer people, the state’s death rate per capita is 6.5 times higher than Pennsylvania’s and 19.3 times higher than California’s.

West Virginians’ death rate is 2.5 that of Kentuckians, 3.6 times times that of Texans, 4.2 times that of Tennesseans, 6.7 times that of North Carolinians and 7.6 times that of Michiganders.

And, as I pointed out in Sunday’s column, that rate isn’t likely to fall until the Legislature does three things: Mandate helmets for all riders, outlaw riding double, and pass a law that makes four-wheelers illegal on all paved roads.